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The Top 7 Cities in the World for Street Photography

January 10, 2014 by Michael Gabriel

Street photography is interesting because it captures different subjects, emotions and happenings in the most candid manner. It tells us what life is like in a particular place and what people do at certain times of the day.

Street photography is one of the best ways to look at life in various stages, cultures, environments and circumstances. It’s like watching life flash by us in pictures.

One of the major elements of street photography is your choice of location. Which places do you think will let you capture interesting scenes? Is it best to choose busy cities or stay close to the suburbs? If you want to take candid shots of strangers or of streets filled with people from all walks of life, then go for the big city. You’re guaranteed to find a variety of subjects that tell of different stories.

Seven Best Cities for Street Photography

If you can’t decide which city – or cities – to go to, here’s a list of 7 that you might want to try out. Each city offers a multitude of creative avenues for street photographers. So the choice is yours.

  1. Paris

    Paris
    photo by Nicki Dugan Pogue
    The City of Light is the world’s go-to place when it comes to fashion, food, architecture, culture and, of course, romance. A lot of activities go on day and night in the streets of Paris. You’ll find interesting characters wherever you go; young or old, male or female.

    It also helps that Paris has beautiful buildings and structures. It is also home to the mighty and magnificent Eiffel Tower. Taking your street photography to this world famous wonder will open up a lot of creative opportunities for you. You will be able to tell a lot of interesting stories with your photos.

  2. New York

    New York
    photo by snorpey
    Times Square, Broadway, Soho – these are just some of the reasons that make New York an ideal place for street photography. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through or go to Times Square everyday; and many of these people are from different parts of the world. Think of how beautiful that scene can come out on your photos!

    If you want a scene that paints the real picture of “life on-the-go”, New York is the best city to go to. All the tall buildings, busy streets and throngs of people will be a treat for street photographers.

  3. London

    London
    photo by André Zehetbauer
    If you want a city with an identity, London is the best choice for you. It’s where you’ll find sophistication and elegance even in the streets. It is also one of the places in the world where you’ll find a mix of the old and the new: buildings, neighborhoods, stores. You’ll also want to find a way to insert all those red phone booths and double deckers into your photos. Or perhaps you’ll want to capture the excitement as crowds of people make their way towards the popular London Eye?

    London is a bustling city with a good number of street photographers.

  4. Rome

    Rome
    photo by N i c o l a
    Who wouldn’t want to take photos of Rome’s streets and elegantly designed buildings and structures? And who wouldn’t want to capture what’s a day like in the Vatican City? Rome is everything that the word interesting means. The people, the places (think Fontana di Trevi or the Colosseum), the culture and even their kind of fashion. You may find it difficult to catch the Pope, but with all the people coming and going into the city, you’ll be busy shooting and creating stories!

    Going around Rome will be an exciting adventure you wouldn’t want your camera to miss!

  5. Barcelona

    Barcelona
    photo by Wenjie, Zhang
    One of the most interesting places in Europe, Barcelona is where you’ll find a lot of idea for your street photography stories. There are great places to shoot in both daytime and nighttime. Check out the neighborhoods during the day or head on over to the beach area for some sun. At night, find all the people heading out to the restaurants and bars.

    Barcelona also has interesting historical structures like the Place del Rei and the Basilica La Seu. You might want to try some street shots with these historical wonders as the central focus. Check out the many World Heritage Sites in Barcelona to get more ideas about how to create unique street photographs in this Spanish city.

  6. Bangkok

    Bangkok
    photo by Fiona Wong
    If your type of street photography is one that features throngs of people, Thailand is where you’ll find the best city for you: Bangkok. The city will make for an interesting subject, as it is the country’s most populous, with a population of more than 8 million. In Bangkok, no matter what time of day, the streets are always filled with people.

    Take photos of people by the river (on the boat) or the flock of Thais making their way to the temples. Maybe you’ll even be lucky and catch a glimpse of the monks on their morning walk. Snap some photos of the vendors selling you candies, cigarettes, religious artifacts, and fruits & vegetables. With the millions of people in the city, there are tons of scenes to shoot in Bangkok, each one telling an interesting story.

  7. Hong Kong

    Hong Kong
    photo by eGuide Travel
    Ever since it was given back to China, Hong Kong has become a more interesting place for photographers. It’s a culture brewery as the old meets the new. You’ll find highly modern buildings, old Chinese-like houses, highly industrialized communities and rundown neighborhoods.

    Another interesting subject when shooting in the streets of Hong Kong are the shoppers. Take photos of different shoppers at various times of the day. This will give you and your audience insights on people’s shopping behaviors and routines.

These are just some of the best and most popular cities for street photographers. These are places where you’ll find it easy to take candid shots of people and of things that are about to happen. They are perfect photography locations because they allow you to be creative; there’s always something happening.

Before taking street photos, make sure that you don’t intrude on a person’s privacy. Take photos only of those who are willing to have their photos taken. It is also important to be as candid as possible. Don’t stage your shots. Don’t just stand still in one corner. Move around, observe and go with the crowd. A good street photographer is always observant and curious.

Michael Gabriel

About the author: Michael Gabriel

Michael Gabriel L. Sumastre is an experienced freelance writer for hire. He has been professionally writing articles, blogs posts and tech content since 2005. Michael loves to take pictures of the countryside when he is touring with his motorcycle. He maintains his professional writing portfolio and personal blog at www.TheFinestWriter.com or on Google+.